Newcastle United supporters are daring to dream again on the back of a £300 million ($408m) takeover of the club that brought Mike Ashley’s much-maligned 14-year reign at St James’ Park to a close.
An exciting new era is being welcomed in on Tyneside, with the Premier League club starting to build towards what they hope will be a brighter future.
Who, though, is calling the shots and which players could end up wearing the famous black and white jersey in upcoming transfer windows? Goal takes a look…
Who owns Newcastle United?
Ashley, the head of high street retailer Sports Direct, acquired a controlling stake in Newcastle during the summer of 2007, with a complete takeover of the club eventually costing him around £134m ($182m).
He has more than doubled his money following a long-awaited sale at the end of a protracted saga.
A Saudi-led consortium has bought Ashley out, with the purchasing arm of that project led by Amanda Staveley.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) now owns an 80 per cent controlling stake in Newcastle, with Staveley taking a 10 per cent share and the final 10 per cent being owned by the Reuben brothers.
What is PIF?
PIF is a state savings account for the Saudi Arabian government.
Its chair is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of Saudi Arabia's king, and is said to be worth £700 billion ($953m).
PIF makes the bulk of its money from oil, but it has invested in organisations all over the world – including Disney, Uber, Facebook, Starbucks and pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Alongside the vast riches of PIF, the Reuben brothers are said to have an estimated fortune of £21.5bn ($29bn).
What is Newcastle United’s transfer budget?
Newcastle clearly have plenty of cash at their disposal, with one deal placing them among the richest clubs in the world.
The expectation is that, like domestic rivals Chelsea and Manchester City before them, elaborate spending sprees will now be overseen as the Magpies take aim at some of the finest footballing talent on the planet.
It remains to be seen how deep new owners are prepared to dig, and who can be convinced to make moves to the north east of England.
There are, however, suggestions that some £190m ($259m) will be made available to the club’s manager during the January transfer window.
Such heavy investment would be expected to breach Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, but that is not the case with Newcastle following an era of frugal business from Ashley.
Which players could Newcastle United sign?
Speculation is raging regarding the supposed identity of those that could register on Newcastle’s recruitment radar.
With money no longer an object – as the Magpies now enjoy the same kind of state ownership that has allowed City and Paris Saint-German to prosper – no player is, theoretically, out of reach.
There has already been talk of Newcastle joining the hunt for the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, who are expected to make moves away from PSG and Borussia Dortmund respectively during the summer of 2022.
Newcastle are, however, unable to offer Champions League football and trophy challenges at present, so a long-term project will need to be put in place when it comes to assembling a star-studded squad.
With that in mind, a number of alternative targets are seeing switches to St James’ Park speculated on.
Manchester United stars Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek are considered to be within reach, along with Real Madrid duo Gareth Bale – who has plenty of prior Premier League experience – and Luka Jovic.
Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who has struggled at Barcelona, is another to be generating plenty of gossip, along with PSG striker Mauro Icardi, Burnley defender James Tarkowski, Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly, PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas and Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.